The latest news from SAVE

BREAKING: Miami-Dade County Commission stands with the LGBTQ community

If you've been following the news lately, you've probably heard about anti-LGBTQ laws recently passed in Mississippi and North Carolina.

These laws, which criminalize bathroom use by transgender people and sanction discrimination against LGBTQ North Carolinians and Mississippians, are similar to proposals SAVE beat back in the Florida legislature in 2015 and 2016.

SAVE Announces 2016 Champions of Equality Honorees



We are proud to announce our 2016 Champions of Equality to be honored June 5 at the tenth annual awards reception and brunch, to be held this year aboard the Lady Windridge yacht docked at Downtown Miami's Bayfront Park.

The Champions of Equality awards reception was established to honor people who have significantly advanced the cause of equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in South Florida.

Congrats to our 2016 Champions of Equality Honorees:

- NBC6 TV personality Roxanne Vargas

- Keys & South Dade State Representative Holly Raschein

- Recently retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida Rev. Leo Frade

- Infectious diseases researcher & needle exchange advocate Dr. Hansel Tookes

headshots3.jpgRoxanne "Roxy" Vargas is a daily reporter on South Florida's NBC 6 and also contributes to NBC 6’s sister station, Telemundo 51 with reports in Spanish. Previously, Vargas was on the NBC 6 news at 5am, covering breaking and national news, features, entertainment, health and consumer news. She joined the NBC 6 News team in May 2007 and has been part of the NBC 6 family since 2003. Voted “Best TV Host” by the Miami New Times in 2012, she’s currently the host of NBC 6’s lifestyle and entertainment show, “6 in the Mix” which airs weekdays at 11:30am.

Among various distinctions, Roxy has received five Emmy nominations for her reporting and hosting. In 2014, she joined an elite group of women around the world such as Brooke Shields, Demi Moore and Maria Shriver, and was inducted into famed fashion designer Donna Karan’s Women Who Inspire Program. She was humbled by the community when she was awarded Favorite Media Personality in the LGBT Visitor Center’s Pink Flamingo Awards and received and Ally Award from Aqua Foundation for Women earlier this year.

"At NBC 6 we are committed to equality for South Florida's LGBTQ community, and I am so proud to accept this award on behalf of the entire NBC6 family," Roxy told SAVE in response to the announcement. "It's an honor to be chosen as a Champion this year, and I'll continue to strive to shine light on the important stories that we all need to hear."


headshots2.jpgHolly Raschein serves as the State Representative to the Florida House for the 120th District, encompassing southern Miami-Dade County and the Keys. In her role in Tallahassee, Holly has served South Florida's LGBTQ community admirably as the House sponsor of the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, which succeeded this year in securing its first committee hearing in the Florida Senate after ten years of attempts.

In sponsoring the Competitive Workforce Act, Representative Raschein has demonstrated a unique willingness to work with members of both parties to get things done in Tallahassee. She has worked closely with all stakeholders, ranging from advocacy organizations like SAVE to Floridian businesses to the leadership of the State Legislature in order to build consensus around the way forward on this critical piece of legislation.

"I was proud to sponsor the Competitive Workforce Act in the House," said Raschein in response to SAVE's announcement. "It's an honor to be chosen as one of SAVE's Champions of Equality, and I promise that I will not let up on this issue until all South Floridians are protected from workplace discrimination."


headshots.jpgThe Right Reverend Leopoldo "Leo" Frade made it his life's work as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida to fight for justice for the oppressed and for the LGBTQ community especially. His outspoken stance in favor of accepting everyone as God's children traces back back to his time as Bishop of Honduras in the 1980s.

In 1984, he remembers seeing a Honduran preacher on TV telling people that if they had a gay son, “He is demon processed,” encouraging them to beat the “demon” out of the person. “I said, ‘Oh my God, this guy is preaching to hundreds of people,’ and they were buying it,” he told the Miami Herald last May. “I thought it was important for the church to speak up.
What I was preaching in Honduras was the fact that we cannot kill them or beat them — and it still happens today. I was called a devil’s agent.”

When churches refused to bury LGBT Hondurans who died at the beginning of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the 1980s, Frade’s church in San Pedro Sula did. “For a whole year we were the only church burying gay people in Honduras — in the whole country,” he told the Herald. SAVE is proud to honor Bishop Frade for his lifelong commitment and outspoken advocacy for LGBTQ equality in his high-ranking position within the Episcopal Church.


headshots4.jpgDr. Hansel Tookes III is an infectious diseases researcher for Jackson Memorial Hospital specializing in HIV/AIDS who served a stint on SAVE's Board of Directors in 2014. SAVE is proud to honor him for his outspoken advocacy for a crucial needle exchange program in South Florida since his days as a student at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in 2010, when he and several classmates spent months interviewing intravenous drug users in Miami.

In addition to having one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the U.S., like much of the rest of the country during this decade, “we have seen the outbreak of a heroin epidemic in Miami,” he told the Miami Herald of his studies. “We are seeing more and more patients hospitalized for infections directly related to use of dirty needles: heart infections, sepsis, abscesses. These infections are all preventable.”

Dr. Tookes has visited Tallahassee every year since 2013 to lobby for funding for the needle-exchange program, which studies show significantly reduces the rate of HIV transmission among intravenous drug users -- an especially high-risk population accounting for a large number of new HIV infections -- at negligible economic and social cost by distributing clean needles for free, so that users are discouraged from sharing needles with others. After failing in three consecutive legislative sessions, the proposal finally passed early this year, due in no small part to the tenacious lobbying on the part of Dr. Tookes.


In addition to the four honorees, SAVE this year will also induct into its Hall of Champions the inaugural Gay8 Festival and its founders, Damian Pardo and Joe Cardona. Gay8 Festival, a cultural event celebrating Little Havana's LGBTQ community, enjoyed runaway success in holding its founding event on Calle Ocho in January to a sold-out crowd of thousands of revelers.

“It’s SAVE’s honor to recognize these leaders this year,” said SAVE Executive Director Tony Lima. “In their own ways, Enrique, Rep. Raschein, Rev. Frade, and Dr. Tookes have all made invaluable contributions to the cause of LGBTQ equality over the past year. And, of course, I’m so proud to have the privilege of honoring Gay8 Festival and its founders, Damian Pardo and Joe Cardona, as our 2016 Hall of Champions inductees in recognition of the success of the inaugural event in Little Havana in January."

This year’s Champions of Equality brunch and reception will be held Sunday, June 5th, from 1 - 5PM aboard the lovely Lady Windridge yacht docked at Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami. Tickets to the event are $150 online and will be $175 at the door and are currently available for sale at


Tell the Miami-Dade County Commission to cut ties with North Carolina & Mississippi!

If you've been following the news lately, you've probably heard about anti-LGBTQ laws recently passed in Mississippi and North Carolina.

These laws, which criminalize bathroom use by transgender people and sanction discrimination against LGBTQ North Carolinians and Mississippians, are similar to proposals SAVE beat back in the Florida legislature in 2015 and 2016.

In response to the passage of these laws, jurisdictions across the county, including Miami Beach and Wilton Manors in our very own South Florida, have suspended business ties with North Carolina and Mississippi.

Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava has indicated that at the upcoming meeting of the Miami-Dade County Commission on May 3, she will introduce a resolution to join those pro-equality jurisdictions in suspending official County business with the states of North Carolina and Mississippi until those states repeal their recently-passed anti-LGBTQ laws.

The Commissioners must act swiftly in passing Commissioner Levine Cava's resolution, which will help bolster the nationwide movement to overturn these discriminatory and anti-LGBTQ laws -- especially in addition to the action taken by the Cities of Miami Beach and Wilton Manors last week.

Will you join Commissioner Levine Cava in urging her colleagues to suspend Miami-Dade County business with the states of North Carolina and Mississippi at the May 3 Commission meeting? Add your name below:

Thank you to Mayor Levine and the Miami Beach Commission for setting the example


If you've been following the news lately, you've probably heard about anti-LGBTQ laws recently passed in Mississippi and North Carolina.

At this critical juncture for our movement, there is no mistaking anymore: the LGBTQ community is under attack nationwide.

These laws, which criminalize bathroom use by transgender people and sanction discrimination against LGBTQ North Carolinians and Mississippians, are similar to proposals SAVE beat back in the Florida legislature in 2015 and 2016.

What we warned lawmakers would happen in Florida has come to pass in North Carolina, where companies like PayPalLionsgate and Deutsche Bank have cut hundreds of jobs in response to the hastily-passed HB2 there.

The same is happening in Mississippi, where official state-funded travel has been banned by a growing list that includes New York and Washington states.

Representing one of the leading municipalities in the nation on the issue of LGBTQ rights, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine wasted no time this afternoon by introducing at the City Commission a key resolution to join those pro-equality jurisdictions suspending business ties with North Carolina and Mississippi. The resolution passed with unanimous cosponsorship.

We commend Mayor Levine and his colleagues for taking this swift action, which will assuredly help bolster the nationwide movement to overturn these awful, discriminatory, anti-LGBTQ, anti-trans laws.

Click here to thank the Miami Beach Commission for standing up for equality. >>


In response to the avalanche of criticism in the wake of the economic disaster caused by North Carolina's discriminatory HB2 law, Governor Pat McCrory has issued what his office is calling an "executive order" which does nothing to correct the damage done when he signed the law in the first place.

Governor McRory should realize that the voters aren't fooled by his political games -- equality for LGBTQ people isn't a game, and the economic well-being of an entire state shouldn't be a game either. There will be no justice until the people of North Carolina achieve full repeal of HB2.

While similar proposals are dead in Tallahassee for now in part due to SAVE's work, you can be sure extremist anti-LGBTQ opponents will continue to push these awful bills.

We must remain vigilant and ready to make our voices heard when the time comes -- and we must give our all to support pro-equality leaders like those who stood up today in Miami Beach.

Click here to add your name thanking the Miami Beach City Commission for standing up for equality today. >>

Thank you for your support.

SAVE Action PAC endorses Carlos Gimenez for re-election as Mayor of Miami-Dade County!

SAVE Action PAC is proud to endorse Carlos Gimenez for re-election as Mayor of Miami-Dade County in the August 30 election!


Mayor Gimenez’s support for nondiscrimination protections was crucial in 2014 when we won those protections for transgender folks at the Miami-Dade County Commission after a hard-fought campaign.

That key support makes us proud to have endorsed Carlos Gimenez as the pro-equality candidate in 2012 -- and he has continued to make us proud in his service to all Miamians as Mayor these past four years. SAVE Action PAC is pleased to again endorse Mayor Gimenez for re-election in August 2016.

“It’s been an honor to stand with Miami-Dade’s LGBT community as Mayor of this great county,” said Gimenez in a nod to the endorsement by SAVE Action PAC in his first campaign in 2012, which was widely cited as key to his victory that year. 

“I've made a commitment to serve ALL Miamians, and one of my proudest legacies as Mayor will be the historic strides toward equality that we made together during my first term on issues like nondiscrimination protections for transgender folks," he recounted, "and I hope to cement that pro-equality legacy by continuing to defend LGBTQ rights during my second term as Mayor."

Since his election, the LGBTQ movement both nationwide and locally has achieved some of its greatest victories, such as the passage of comprehensive nondiscrimination protections in Miami-Dade County, as well as court victories in SAVE's 2014 marriage equality case in Florida and for nationwide marriage advocates at the Supreme Court in 2015.

However, in response to these victories, the movement for LGBTQ equality has come under some of the fiercest backlash in its history. Amid widely publicized resistance to marriage equality such as that of Kim Davis in Ketucky, SAVE fought back repeated attempts by Florida lawmakers to pass anti-LGBTQ bills during the 2015-2016 legislative session, including a proposal which would criminalize the use of restrooms by transgender Floridians as well as one which would legally sanction discrimination against LGBTQ Floridians.

In contrast, Mayor Gimenez has repeatedly gone on record during his first term in enthusiastic support of proposals that would ensure that all residents of Miami-Dade County are treated equally and respectfully -- and he has not shied away from defending those proposals from hateful attacks by extremist opponents of equality.

"When we added nondiscrimination protections for transgender folks, the argument was that, oh, now we are going to have a public safety issue in our bathrooms," he told a gathering of SAVE supporters in March, referring to the red herring posed by opponents of inclusive nondiscrimination laws that such proposals create a so-called "loophole" for male predators to enter public facilities designated for women with the intent of committing a sex crime. 

The reality is that this behavior is already illegal, and furthermore has never been recorded in the hundreds of American state and local jurisdictions which have passed nondiscrimination protections -- including Miami-Dade County, Broward County, Palm Beach County, and various other local jurisdictions in Florida. 

"You know how many public safety incidents we have recorded in restrooms related to passing these protections?" he asked, as he gestured the 'zero' symbol. "None," he answered emphatically, "and I know that Miami-Dade County has been made stronger by protecting all of its residents from discrimination."

In his State of the County speech at FIU in February 2015, Gimenez also cited his record in support of LGBTQ equality. “I was proud to stand with commissioners who voted to protect our transgender residents in December of last year,” he said, “and welcomed the court rulings that finally gave adults the right to marry whomever they choose.”

For more information about where to vote, when to vote, and how to register to vote, please visit:

Thanks for your support!

The freedom to go where we want, when we want


SAVE is proud to announce our partnership with Lyft, which is bringing all of us together by giving us the freedom to go where we want, when we want.

In encouraging its drivers and riders to "Ride with Pride" across the country, Lyft stands with SAVE and the LGBTQ community in support of equality for ALL Floridians and Americans.


Never rode with Lyft before?

Lyft gives us more options for getting around town than ever before -- wherever you’re headed, count on Lyft for rides in minutes. The Lyft app matches you with local drivers at the tap of a button. Just request and go.

Lyft is the newest member of SAVE's Equality Network of businesses committed to workplace equality.

In demonstration of its commitment to equality in the workplace for all LGBTQ Floridians, we are proud to announce that Lyft has signed on as an Equality Defender sponsor of Champions of Equality 2016.


Ride with Pride with Lyft to Champions of Equality 2016!

Stay tuned for more announcements and promotions to come from our partnership with Lyft! Thanks for your support!

Download the Lyft app now:

iPhone    Android




Presale tickets are $100 online for a limited time only! Buy yours today.


Thank you for your support!


"Pastor protection" bill clears final hurdle before full vote in FL Senate

Yesterday, the Florida State Senate Rules Committee voted to move ahead on the so-called "pastor protection" bill making the rounds in Tallahassee.

The bill deflects attention towards an invented problem -- that LGBTQ people are "forcing" clergy to marry them -- rather than towards the problems that Floridians face every day. In one of the last hurdles to becoming law, the bill heads next to a vote before the full Florida Senate.

Let's be absolutely clear: pastors and clergy have always had the right to decide who their houses of worship will and won’t marry. The U.S. Constitution's First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom makes that clear.

We thank Rules Committee Vice Chair Darren Soto, as well as his colleagues Senators Audrey Gibson and Bill Montford, for voting NO on this unnecessary distraction from the real issue at hand: the need for protections from discrimination for ALL Floridians.

We think it's time our legislators listened to the needs of Florida's voters -- like passing positive, common-sense reforms such as the Florida Competitive Workforce Act that protect Floridians who actually need protection.

Will you commit to join SAVE at an upcoming phone bank or canvass so we can make sure our legislators know the priorities of pro-equality Floridians? Click HERE to sign up now. >>


With your help, we can make sure that pro-equality policies prevail before the Florida state legislature in the next session and beyond. Sign up to volunteer at a SAVE phone bank or canvass today. >>

We made history: workplace equality finally heard in Tallahassee. What's next?

Late yesterday, the Florida Senate Judiciary Committee voted to end consideration of the Florida Competitive Workforce Act (FCWA). Although this is a missed opportunity to take what would have been a huge step towards the passage of statewide workplace equality, we are nonetheless very proud that we were able to secure a hearing for this bill at all.

With the FCWA introduced without being considered for the past ten years (!), yesterday's hearing was a long time coming. We'd like to give a special shoutout to Miami's own Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, Chairman of the Florida State Senate Judiciary Committee, for meeting with leaders from the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition and SAVE and taking the historic step of putting this proposal to a vote for the first time ever.

We also thank Senator Diaz de la Portilla and his colleagues on the Judiciary Committee, Senators Jeremy Ring, Arthenia Joyner, David Simmons, and Darren Soto for voting YES to move the bill ahead. And of course, we thank Senator Joe Abruzzo of Palm Beach County and Representative Holly Raschein of South Dade and the Keys for sponsoring this proposal in their respective houses of the state legislature.

So, what's next?

Make no mistake -- the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce Coalition and SAVE will return next year to continue pushing lawmakers to pass the FCWA.

While we're disappointed at the result, yesterday's vote gives us hope for the future of employment discrimination protections in Florida. The vote failed because of a tie -- which means the Competitive Workforce Act is SO CLOSE to majority support in Tallahassee!

YOU can help make sure we come back to Tallahassee stronger than ever in 2017! Will you help SAVE take the voters' pro-equality message to Tallahassee next year? Help SAVE make sure our leaders hear us loud and clear by donating today. >>


With your help, we can make sure that pro-equality policies like the Florida Competitive Workforce prevail before the Florida state legislature the next time around. Help us come back to Tallahassee stronger than ever in 2017 by donating to SAVE today! >>

Thank you for your support!


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